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Outer Pin Installation: Advice Needed

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  • Front Axle / Front Suspension: Outer Pin Installation: Advice Needed

    Hi gang! This is posted in "My Half A$$ Studebaker Rebuild" of my 1962 Hawk originally. Here goes. "Well, I've been spending a lot of time on the right side suspension and read what I could on installing the outer bushings correctly. I even brought my control arm down to Carl and Hermann to see if they have any suggestions. I can't seem to relieve the amount of tension on the outer pins. I've spread the arms out to the correct measurement. When started, the bushing goes in well, but once torqued down, it seizes the pin and is very difficult to move. Carl warned me that the control arm can only take so many cycles of bushing removal and installing, so I am being careful. I've got the lower pin to where it finally has stiff movement which I think is the best I can get it. The upper control arm outer pin is a whole different ball game. Not matter how I place the bushings, it seized the pin upon torquing down even remotely to any significant amount. I spent most of Saturday just working on the upper arm trying to keep the pin free enough so it won't tear itself apart on the first bump.





    As you can tell, it's stiff enough to hold the position. Everything tells me this is wrong and wear of components will commence immediately on the first drive down the road. Even though I've read through the links Harry has provided, I'm no nearer to feeling comfortable in letting this go like this. If I back off the rear upper bushing just two turns, the pin moves freely and I can accept that, but I cannot see that being an option, (I did have fleeting thoughts of tack welding it there a few times, but I suppose it's a good thing my welder is broken at the moment). I'm sure I am doing something wrong, but Carl and Hermann told me it's difficult to get past the original threads and the new bushings may be falling into them. Anyway, I will post this in Tech Talk also."

    I did look at the other threads on this subject, but I think I'm missing something. Hope someone can help and there will be an "ah-ha!" moment.
    "Man plans, God laughs".

    Anon

  • #2
    I have replaced the outer pins on a 54 coupe and a 63 GT Hawk and had the same problems you are experiencing. I did the 54 about 15 years ago and managed to get it "close enough" but wasn't happy with how snug a couple of the lower control arms were.

    When doing the 54, I discovered that the new bushing will almost always follow the existing threads that were cut into the control arm by the original bushing cap. I machined a solid bar as a spacer to spread the control arm ears with no improvement. Some unusual dynamics are caused by the bushings threading onto the pin at the same time that they are threading into the control arm. If the threads are worn in the control arm and the bushing is not tight in the threads, then when the head of the bushing comes up tight against the control arm, the extra rotation of the bushing will thread onto the pin and tend to bend the ears inward despite the spreader tool. At 11 TPI, only 1/4 turn per each bushing is .045" total.

    When I did the 63, it occurred to me that I could install the first bushing while the other bushing was not engaged with the threads in the control arm. The bushing can be brought up to full torque which will draw the pin slightly to that side but won't be pulling on the other ear. Then when the second bushing is installed and torqued, the flex of the control arm ears would be half as much. It does take a little extra care to keep the lower kingpin support centered. It turned out that, if the loosest bushing is installed first, the flex of the ears is 1/3 as much or less.

    The other thing that I found interesting is that the pins and bushings are not all identical. I measured 2 new sets and 5 used sets from my scrap heap and the clocking on the threads between each end of the pin or between the inner and outer threads on the bushing varies from one pin or bushing to another. I am pretty sure that at least one of the used sets was original as installed at the factory. The 2 new sets were the new reproduction ones from SI.

    Knowing the thread clocking on the bushings helped me fix one of my lower control arms. After I had installed and torqued the front bushing, the rear bushing was quite loose in the threads. I chose one that had been measured 180 degrees different from the one that was loose. This moves the crest of the thread on the bushing .045". This bushing was extremely tight and was apparently making new threads since it took over 120 ft. lbs. just to turn it in. I was worried that it might strip out but it worked perfectly.

    It helped that I had bought 2 sets of bushings and pins when I did the 63 so I had extras to chose from. The extra set will be used on a future project. Below are some photos showing how I measured the thread clocking on the bushings. The second bushing is seen to be almost 180 degrees different than the first.
    Cliff

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    54 Commander Coupe driver
    53 Commander Hardtop project
    SE Washington State

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    • #3
      Cliff, thanks for the advice. I did a mix and match as well to try to relieve the tension, but to no avail. I may end up backing the rear one out and widening the gap past the .015" to have the threads start at another location. It's a frustrating method installing these, doing this at home.
      "Man plans, God laughs".

      Anon

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      • #4
        Hi Topper, I can feel your frustration just from reading your Post, can I say, ask and suggest a few things? In picture No2 it shows the King Pin seated in the bottom outer housing with lock nut on, was that the case when you started to thread the bushings on to the outer pins and torque them? If so I'm thinking something may be out of alignment or warped concerning the upper control arm, therefore pulling and binding things up when you start torquing the bushes up against the control arm, try torquing the bushes when the King Pin is not seated and see if it then moves freely, if that works loosen all the inner shaft bolts and see if the King Pin will line up with the bottom housing. If you have tried all that and the King Pin lines up nicely after the outer bushes have been torqued, it well may be a problem with spreading the control arm to the correct thou setting wether that be a higher or lower thou setting. I'm sure you'll work it out. Cheers Harryhawk PS Just like JoeHall once the bushes are started I tighten them simultaneously.
        Last edited by Harryhawk; 08-12-2019, 12:16 PM.

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        • #5
          I have rebuilt probably 12-15 Studebaker front suspensions, and pin thread clearance varies. Sometimes after rebuild they will have sufficient clearance to be rotated by hand, but often not. Usually, if 6 of the 8 are that loose, I consider myself lucky. Sometimes, I can go extra wide with the spreader tool to get a looser pin, but sometimes not. Sometimes it works better if the spreader is not even used. I usually have best luck when starting the caps on each end of the pin first, then simultaneously starting both into the threaded arms. I have learned to ignore the ridiculous torque spec, and go with a guesstimated 50 pounds or so. Not even sure some of the arms' threads would even take the specified torque, especially if rebuilt before. In over 700,000 Studebaker miles, I have never had a cap come loose later, but check them every time I grease the suspension. Sometimes, in order to get the tight ones to take grease, it is necessary to loosen them 1/4 turn. After greasing, then retighten. Have also had to loosen the upper pin caps 1/4 turn or so in order to set caster & camber. But I have also learned to just set both sides to max during reassembly, since about 99 percent of the time, max is best. It is toe in/out that will cause wonky steering and tire tread wear.

          THE GOOD NEWS: Those parts will wear in and, as miles go by, the pins will take grease easier and easier. Our 62GT was my first Stude front end rebuild back in 1985, about 310,000 miles ago. I have replaced the upper and lower 'A' arm bushings about every 100,000 miles, but the king pins, bushings, and upper & lower pins remain untouched. Everything is nice and loose, but the passenger side king pin is a bit too loose. I plan another rebuild and, now retired, that should be soon. That car's suspension, as our other Studes, has mostly been greased every 10,000 miles, which is sufficient for modern roads. But the last 10 years or so, I sometimes grease them just because I happen to be under the car. Not really necessary though.

          So in sum, just do the best you can with your Studs's pins, and they will loosen up later. It's most important to grease them initially, then regularly thereafter. If that means loosening the caps little for them to take grease, no problem, just remember to retighten them. If the front end ever squeaks, that usually comes from those pins, and is a red flag that they need greasing. You will know, because the squeaking will stop after they're greased.
          Last edited by JoeHall; 08-12-2019, 08:43 AM.

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          • #6
            Thanks guys for the good advice. I have ordered the proper spreader from SI and will commence when it comes in. At least it gives me an option on whether I need to use it or not. I had thought of making my own as it didn't seem to look too sophisticated. Will let everyone know what happens.
            "Man plans, God laughs".

            Anon

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Topper2011 View Post
              Thanks guys for the good advice. I have ordered the proper spreader from SI and will commence when it comes in. At least it gives me an option on whether I need to use it or not. I had thought of making my own as it didn't seem to look too sophisticated. Will let everyone know what happens.
              Hopefully I did not give the impression that mechanical lockup is OK. I should clarify, the lower pin can be rotated with pliers, and the upper pin can be rotated by push/pull on the king pin. You usually cannot, however, rotate the bottom pin by hand, nor will the king pin free fall to rotate the upper pin.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JoeHall View Post
                Hopefully I did not give the impression that mechanical lockup is OK. I should clarify, the lower pin can be rotated with pliers, and the upper pin can be rotated by push/pull on the king pin. You usually cannot, however, rotate the bottom pin by hand, nor will the king pin free fall to rotate the upper pin.

                Hi Joe and folks! I did solve my problem and even installed the left side with a lot less issue. I found out why the right side was binding, the hole is stripped out on the rear upper control arm. It would not stop rotating and seize the pin instead. I had fleeting thoughts of just backing off the bushing and welding it to the control arm, figuring the control arm needs rewelding and boring anyway. I will most likely just weld a bead in the hole and ream it out to the proper diameter and start over. The rest went well and this seems to be the only issue. Thanks all.

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                "Man plans, God laughs".

                Anon

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                • #9
                  I was able to weld some beads in the hole and was able to securely install the bushing and all seems well.

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                  "Man plans, God laughs".

                  Anon

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